De Matos Ryan has completed The Garden House, a new 179 m² house at the far end of the rear garden of a Victorian house in Battersea, South West London. The architects were commissioned to design a new garden annex for a newly married couple that required additional space to accommodate seven children. The annex was to replace a potting shed and greenhouse that the older children could move into.
The original planned design was soon changed with the news of an eight child on the way. The calm and convenience of the new annex had become an ideal retreat for the parents with the new baby and younger children, while the main house would remain to the older children.
The design of The Garden House has been driven by three challenges including the clients’ ambitious requirement for increased space; the need to incorporate compulsory flood-proofing measures due to the site’s close proximity to the River Thames; as well as complying with planning restrictions to prevent the overlooking of neighbouring properties.
– De Matos Ryan
The new house incorporates five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study and kitchen/living area. The garden was excavated to create a high-sided watertight concrete courtyard, which increased the floor plate of the property without affecting the single storey appearance at garden level.
The living areas were assigned to the courtyard level to benefit from full height windows, while the bedrooms were housed on the first floor in clean white volumes that gently ‘float’ above the glazing. A bridge at garden level bisects the white box and marks the entrance to the property.
A playful improbability of form manifests itself throughout the scheme: from a floating dining table cantilevered from the kitchen worktop to the apparent mass of the upper volumes that appear to float above a glass wall. This playfulness was a key aspiration for the project to add to the surprise and delight of discovering a house at the bottom of a garden.
– De Matos Ryan
The windows have been discretely located on the side and rear elevations of the house to comply with planning restrictions. A combination of internal light wells and skylights ensure that the bedrooms have plenty of natural light.
The feature of the house is the sunken internal courtyard, characterized by white concrete walls and floor that give the Garden House an exotic aesthetic. The corner of the house is marked by large sliding doors that open up to the courtyard, creating a seamless transition to a private oasis.
*All images and information courtesy of World Architecture Festival.